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What to Eat on the Atkins Diet

Updated March 17, 2017

Whether you've tried it or not, you've no doubt heard of the Atkins diet, a weight-loss plan that promises you'll drop pounds by eating plenty of protein and few carbohydrates. The theory behind the diet is that because the body burns carbohydrates before burning fat, you should strictly restrict the amount of carbs you eat so that the body is forced to burn fat instead of carbs. The Atkins diet is popular because there is large variety of permitted foods, there's less of a chance that dieters will get bored with their options.

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Foods High in Protein

Most of the food on your shopping list will be protein-rich--plenty of meats such as beef, pork, poultry, and lamb. But it also means eating dairy foods containing protein, such as eggs and cheese. Many seafoods are also protein-rich, particularly salmon, haddock, shrimp and lobster. Vegetarians should focus on eating nuts, lentils, all kinds of beans, and peas.

Foods High in Fat

The Atkins diet encourages eating high-fat foods, within moderation. You can use butter to sauté your vegetables, as well as olive, peanut, coconut or walnut oil. Also feel free to eat foods containing healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts.


Vegetables are an important part of the Atkins diet because they provide fibre. Most vegetables are OK to eat, as long as they aren't starchy (avoid potatoes). Specifically, you can eat spinach, artichokes, kale, red, green or yellow bell peppers, leeks, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, onions, green beans and squash.

Certain fruits

Many fruits are off-limits in the Atkins diet because of their high-carb content. However, there are many fruits that are acceptable. These include apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges and raspberries. Under the Atkins plan, you aren't allowed eat these fruits during the initial, no-carb kick-off (the first two weeks) but will be able to eat them later on.

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About the Author

Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in France. A former corporate lawyer, she has been writing professionally since 2006. She has been published in numerous print and online magazines, specializing in travel, parenting, history and law. Diggs is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School.

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